China opens space teleoperation center

Updated: 2013-12-15 14:59


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BEIJING - China's first center designed for teleoperation, or operation from a distance, of deep space missions was formally opened at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) following its successful trial use on the country's first moon rover early on Sunday.

The moon rover Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, separated from the lander at 4:35 am on Sunday, several hours after the Chang'e-3 probe soft-landed on the lunar surface.

The successful separation and soft-landing marked the formal operation of the center, where technicians can fully control and monitor the working conditions of the rover and lander.

The center provides 40 seats for operating posts ranging from commanding to route planning.

"A three-dimensional technique was used in order to more clearly know the working conditions of the moon rover," said Zhou Jianliang, chief engineer of the BACC.

Chang'e-3 landed on the moon's Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows, at 9:11 pm on Saturday, establishing China as the third country in the world capable of carrying out such a rover mission after the United States and former Soviet Union.

The soft-landing was carried out 12 days after the probe blasted off on a Long March-3B carrier rocket from southwest China.

Zhou said that commands for future deep space explorations will also be issued from the center.